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Collage Culture

Readymades, Meaning, and the Age of Consumption

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David Banash

Collage Culture develops a comprehensive theory of the origins and meanings of collage and readymades in modern and postmodern art, literature, and everyday life. Demonstrating that the origins of collage are found in assembly line technologies and mass media forms of layout and advertising in early twentieth-century newspapers, Collage Culture traces how the historical avant-garde turns the fragmentation of Fordist production against nationalist, fascist, and capitalist ideologies, using the radical potential unleashed by new technologies to produce critical collages. David Banash adeptly surveys the reinvention of collage by a generation of postmodern artists who develop new forms including cut-ups, sampling, zines, plagiarism, and copying to cope with the banalities and demands of consumer culture. Banash argues that collage mirrors the profoundly dialectical relations between the cut of assembly lines and the readymades of consumerism even as its cutting-edges move against the imperatives of passive consumption and disposability instituted by those technologies, forms, and relations. Collage Culture surveys and analyzes works of advertising, assemblage, film, literature, music, painting, and photography from the historical avant-garde to the most recent developments of postmodernism.

Sites of Exchange

European Crossroads and Faultlines

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Edited by Maurizio Ascari and Adriana Corrado

Crossing borders – both physically and imaginatively – is part of our ‘nomadic’ postmodern identity, but transcultural and transnational exchanges have also played a major role in the centuries-long processes of hybridisation that helped to fashion the vast geographic, political and imaginative container of diversity we call Europe. This volume gathers together the work of scholars from several European countries in an attempt to encourage a collective reflection upon historical – and often ‘mythical’ – locations and landscapes, as well as upon the thresholds and faultlines that unite or separate them. The issues the volume tackles are delicate and complex, for the encounter of differences engenders both curiosity and suspicion and there is no easy way to create a new synthesis while respecting and promoting diversity. However, since Europe is inevitably a cultural and political entity ‘in the making’, Europeans should embrace the ‘great narrative’ of a ‘utopian project’, uniting their efforts to work towards a civilisation that is grounded on plurality and openness.

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Edited by Peter H. Marsden and Geoffrey V. Davis

Studying postcolonial literatures in English can (and indeed should) make a human rights activist of the reader – there is, after all, any amount of evidence to show the injustices and inhumanity thrown up by processes of decolonization and the struggle with past legacies and present corruptions. Yet the human-rights aspect of postcolonial literary studies has been somewhat marginalized by scholars preoccupied with more fashionable questions of theory.
The present collection seeks to redress this neglect, whereby the definition of human rights adopted is intentionally broad. The volume reflects the human rights situation in many countries from Mauritius to New Zealand, from the Cameroon to Canada. It includes a focus on the Malawian writer Jack Mapanje.
The contributors’ concerns embrace topics as varied as denotified tribes in India, female genital mutilation in Africa, native residential schools in Canada, political violence in Northern Ireland, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and the discourse of the Treaty of Waitangi. The editors hope that the very variety of responses to the invitation to reflect on questions of “Literature and Human Rights” will both stimulate further discussion and prompt action.
Contributors are: Edward O. Ako, Hilarious N. Ambe, Ken Arvidson, Jogamaya Bayer, Maggie Ann Bowers, Chandra Chatterjee, Lindsey Collen, G.N. Devy, James Gibbs, J.U. Jacobs, Karen King–Aribisala, Sindiwe Magona, Lee Maracle, Stuart Marlow, Don Mattera, Wumi Raji. Lesego Rampolokeng, Dieter Riemenschneider, Ahmed Saleh, Jamie S. Scott, Mark Shackleton, Johannes A. Smit, Peter O. Stummer, Robert Sullivan, Rajiva Wijesinha, Chantal Zabus

Borderlines

Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern Life Writing

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Gunnthórunn Gudmundsdóttir

Borderlines. Autobiography and Fiction in Postmodern Life Writing locates and investigates the borderlines between autobiography and fiction in various kinds of life-writing dating from the last thirty years. This volume offers a valuable comparative approach to texts by French, English, American, and German authors to illustrate the different forms of experimentation with the borders between genres and literary modes. Gudmundsdóttir tackles important contemporary concerns such as autobiography’s relationship to postmodernism by investigating themes such as memory and crossing cultural divides, the use of photographs in autobiography and the role of narrative in life-writing. This work is of interest to students and scholars of comparative literature, postmodernism and contemporary life-writing.

"Trading Magic for Fact," Fact for Magic

Myth and Mythologizing in Postmodern Canadian Historical Fiction

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Marc Colavincenzo

This study brings together three major areas of interest - history, postmodern fiction, and myth. Whereas neither history and postmodern fiction nor history and myth are strangers to one another, postmodernism and myth are odd bedfellows. For many critics, postmodern thought with its resistance to metanarratives stands in direct and deliberate contrast to myth with its apparent tendency to explain the world by means of neat, complete narratives.
There is a strain of postmodern Canadian historical fiction in which myth actually forms a complement not only to postmodernism's suspicion of master-narratives but also to its privileging of those marginal and at times ignored areas of history. The fourteen works of Canadian fiction
considered demonstrate a doubled impulse which at first glance seems contradictory. On the one hand, they go about demythologizing - in the Barthesian sense - various elements of historical discourse, exposing its authority as not simply a natural given but as a construct. This includes the fact that the view of history portrayed in the fiction has been either underrepresented or suppressed by official historiography. On the other hand, the history is then re-mythologized, in that it becomes part of a pre-existing myth, its mythic elements are foregrounded, myth and magic are woven into the narrative, or it is portrayed as extraordinary in some way. The result is an empowering of these histories for the future; they are made larger than life and unforgettable.

The Importance of Reinventing Oscar

Versions of Wilde during the Last 100 Years

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Edited by Uwe Böker, Richard Corballis and Julie A. Hibbard

The present collection of essays is the outcome of the Oscar Wilde conference held at the Technical University of Dresden, 31 August - 3 September 2000. The papers cover a wide range of historical and comparative aspects: they look into the status of Wilde as poet, dramatist, essayist and intellectual during his own times as well as investigate the meaning of his work for subsequent writers and critics, thus, giving an outline of the Wildean history of literary reception, intellectual discourse and media transformation. Intellectually brilliant and challenging, Oscar Wilde had been a favourite of the late Victorians, performing the roles of the dandy and the poet of art for art's sake. However, due to his questioning of prevalent moral double standards and his insistence on the autonomy of art, he was indicted for gross indecencies, convicted, and sent to prison. Instead of being ostracised, he became a source of inspiration for writers and artists on the British isles as well as on the European continent.
The papers in this volume explore such topics as Wilde's concepts of socialism and aestheticism, his fashioning of the femme fatale and of the dandy, his use of fashion and of simulation, his impact on modernism and postmodernism as well as on genres such as crime writing and fictional biography, and the influence of Wilde on writers such as James Joyce, W.B. Yeats, Joe Orton, Peter Ackroyd, Tom Stoppard, David Hare and Mark Ravenhill. Other papers focus on the reception of Wilde in Russia, former Yugoslavia, Hungary and Germany as well as on cinematic and Internet representations of Wilde. Critical and creative responses vary from the general to the specific – from traditional assessments to analyses of the arts of camp, parody, and pastiche; thus, indicative of the (sub)cultural appropriation of 'Saint Oscar' (Terry Eagleton).

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Stephen Gray

This collection is concerned with the problems and pleasures of writing literary biography in the context of South African writing. Stephen Gray's introduction outlines the choice faced by the researcher: between writing revisionist history (à la Strachey) and the personal bias the portraitist must take into account when conducting the retrieval especially of lost and enigmatic figures (à la Symons). Concentrating on the unattached irregulars of the arts in South Africa - often the arts of their times - Gray stresses the value of the free-lance figure in the formation of an evolving colonial and post-colonial literature.
Subjects included are: Charles Maclean, alias John Ross, who recorded his experiences of the Zulu King Shaka in Natal's first captivity narrative; Douglas Blackburn, rated as the successor of Swift for his satires of the Anglo-Boer War conflict; Beatrice Hastings, polymath journalist whose lovers included Katherine Mansfield and Amedeo Modigliani; Stephen Black, founder of indigenous South African drama in English; Edward Wolfe, the Bloomsbury painter who began as a child-actor in the mining town of Johannesburg; Bessie Head, who became the Botswana-based wise-woman of African literature before her untimely death in 1986, yet never knew her own origins; Etienne Leroux, the Free State rancher who, in Afrikaans, wrote much-banned postmodernist novels; Mary Renault whose bestselling novels set in Ancient Greece peculiarly represented the shutdown of democracy in apartheid South Africa; Sipho Sepamla, stalwart of the Soweto Poetry school which came to prominence after the 1976 Soweto uprising; and Richard Rive, novelist, cultural commentator and liberation icon, murdered in his prime. The portrait gallery of the figures who have shaped and defined the role of literature in South Africa is both revealing and provocative, showing the route taken by some lesser-known talents in their struggle to establish the rights of authors in an often indifferent or repressive state.

'Closing the Gap'

American Postmodern Fiction in Germany, Italy, Spain, and the Netherlands

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Edited by Theo D'haen and Hans Bertens

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Edited by Theo D'haen

The contributors to the present volume, in espousing and extending the programme of such writers as Edward Said, Benedict Anderson, Homi Bhabha, and Gayatri Spivak, lay bare the genealogy of 'writing' empire (thereby, in a sense, ' un-writing' it). One focus is the Caribbean: the retrograde agenda of francophone créolité; the re-writing of empire in the postmodern disengagement of Edouard Glissant; resistance to post-colonial allegiances, and the dissolving of binary categories, in contemporary West Indian writing. Essays on India, Malaysia, and Indonesia explore various aspects of cultural self-understanding in Asia: un-writing high culture through hybrid 'shopping' among Western styles; the use of indigenous oral forms to counter Western hegemony; romantic and anti-romantic attitudes towards empire and the land. A shift to Africa brings a study of Nadine Gordimer's feminist un-writing of Hemingway's masculinist colonising narrative, a searching analysis of Soyinka's restoration of ancient syncretic elements in his West African re-visions of Greek tragedy, changing evaluations of the validity of European civilization in André Gide's representations of Africa, and tensions of linguistic allegiance in Maghreb literature. North America, finally, is brought back into the imperial fold through discussions of Melville's re-writing of travel and captivity narratives to critique the mission of American empire, Leslie Marmon Silko's re-territorialization of expropriated Native American oral traditions, and Timothy Findley's representation of Canada's troubled involvement with its three shaping empires (French, British, American).